Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: phil lesh (page 1 of 88)

Raise Whatever’s In Front Of You

Are you drinking?

“It’s non-alcoholic, jackass.”

Why does everyone else have to drink it?

“I said so.”

And why is there only plate of food?

“It’s mine.”

Nobody else gets food?

“They’re all welcome to order whatever they want. 10% discount.”

What about your son?

“20% except for fish.”

Sounds right.

“Seafood prices are killing me. No one knew that running a restaurant was so complicated.”


“Of course not, jackass. I was making fun of that orange dipshit in the White House.”

It’s been an exhausting week.

“He’s gotta stroke out soon, right?”

No. I think he’s the Immortal Evil. Keith Richards will die before Trump does.

“I could send the busboys.”

You shouldn’t

“They really want to.”

Understandably. And righteously. But still.

“What if they just huck tennis balls at his bedroom window at night?”


“Yeah, randomly. Of course. We’re going for learned helplessness here. Keep up.”


“Sleep deprivation. Powerful weapon.”

Hey, man: they’re your busboys. Do what you will with them.

“And that shall be the extent of the law.”

Hail Baphomet.

“Lucifer was framed.”

Y’know what was fun? When the mics would pick up you guys arguing about how many beats the intro of Beat It On Down The Line would have, and then you get to count along with you. Really fun.”

“Get out.”


Backyard Fun With Bobby And Phil

When Phil makes that face, you need to give him about three feet of space or you’re getting bitten.




Is that a Fender?

“Yeah. But, you know, it still cost twenty grand.”

Oh, thank God. I was worried.

“It’s a ’59. This sucker liked Ike.”

He was a genial sort.

“People don’t know this about Eisenhower, but he was our most graceful president.”


“Moved like a panther.”

I learned something today.

“Yup, okay.”


Bobby’s wrist is reaching Johnny Deppian levels of tchotchkes and bric-a-brac.


Phil loves that green flannel so fucking much I cannot begin to describe it. It might be his wubby at this point. Don’t believe me? Here’s Phil tonight:

Several of you go to Terrapin Crossroads regularly; someone bring Phil a new shirt.

For The Wood Is Dark, And Full Of Phil

Look at you, you handsome son of a bitch.

“What can I say? I’m hot.”

I said “handsome.” I did not say “hot.”

“You were thinking it.”


“Whaddya want?”

I heard that you’re doing the setlist from 5/7/77 at TXR tonight with the Phamily Band.

“When you plug, it’s always very obvious.”

Just answer the question.

“Yup, we are.”

Nifty. You remember anything about that show?



“You want me to remember a specific night from 40 years ago?”

If you could.

“I can’t.”

Make some stuff up?

“I understand why people hide in the bushes from you.”

You’re too skinny. Eat something.

“Kiss my skinny ass.”

Faces In The Crowd

This looks like a Before/After shot in a laxative ad.


“Kobe got fired? I thought he retired.”

“James Comey, Bob.”

“Who did he play for?”

“He was with the FBI, Bob.”

“Female Body Inspectors?”

“No, that’s not a thing.”

“Then where did Billy get the tee-shirt?”

“Just play the song and glare at the camera, Bob.”

“You bet.”

The Passing Of The Hair Dryer

“Why are you staring at my hair, Bob?”

“Looks great. Just bought it?”

“I don’t wear a hairpiece, Bob.”

“Sure, sure. Hair system. Whatever they call them now.”

“Weir, it’s all me.”

“Ah, yeah, I dunno.”

“Whaddya mean, ‘I dunno?'”

“Well, everyone knows I’m the one with the good hair in the Grateful Dead.”

“40 years ago. 40 years ago, you were the guy with the good hair. Now, due to the vagaries of male genetics, I have the hair.”

“Like how the Democrats and Republicans flipped in ’68?’

“Please don’t compare my hair to the Southern Strategy, Bob.”

“I make no promises.”

M.I.T As Well

When dunces give you that “Jerry didn’t want it to be about politics, maaaaaaan,” jive, just remind them the Dead were literally the house band of a student riot. This is 5/6/70 on the Kresge Plaza at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The band was scheduled to play the next night in the gym, but when the kids took the campus in protest of the National Guard murdering four Kent State students, the Dead agreed to provide the soundtrack; they were hidden in the back of a bread truck and smuggled onto the site. (It looks like they didn’t bring Pig’s organ.) It was cold–May in Boston can get wicked chilly–and they had more trouble keeping their guitars in tune than normal, but the set’s got a crackly and wired energy; Dancin’ in the Street is the highlight, which makes sense given the context.

Garcia didn’t do politics because he was terminally passive-aggressive, but the Grateful Dead always chose sides, and it was always the side you’d expect.

Froggy Went A-Courtin’ And He Did Ride, Phil Bomb

“So, Frog had someone write a book full of mean and hateful things, and also skank stories. Toad had tried to be nice to Frog, but Frog was just a real jackass.”


“Don’t interrupt Story Time.”


“Perhaps Frog was jealous of Toad’s thick and beautiful head of hair, who knows with Frog?”

Phil, that’s not the story and you know it.

“The children need to know the truth about drummers.”

I don’t agree.

“Who gives a shit? It’s my restaurant, and these are my children.”

Those are not your children.

“Every parent here would give me their children if I asked.”


“Can’t have another generation of wieners. Gotta toughen ’em up.”

How is telling them lightly-fictionalized stories about Billy toughening them up?

“They will know horror.”

Also true. Can’t you just read The Cat in the Hat?

“Changed that one, too.”

What’s it about now?


Okay, the kids need to hear that.

“Glad I have your approval.”

The Return Of Phil And The Phoxes

Enthusiasts, let’s solve a puzzle. We’ve done it before. The timeline of Garcia’s unfortunate 1969 mustache? Done. Who actually booed Seastones in Germany? (The Americans.) What caused the Civil War? Slavery.

It’s more complicated than that.

Only if you’re a historian or a racist.

Yeah, okay.

But now, Enthusiasts, we come to our greatest challenge ever. Our Apollo Creed, our Clubber Lang, our Ivan Drago, our whoever-Rocky-fought-int-the-fifth-and-sixth-ones. Perhaps some of us shall not survive. Perhaps all of us will not survive. If so, it’s been an honor lying to you.

But we must soldier on. I call to the Four Winds! I call to Nicolantheum von Meriweather in California, and David Lemieuxrphy’soilsoap in Canada, and Corey from Lost Live Dead in the Comment Section! Hear me, Deadbase editors and amateur rockologists! Are you out there, two specific women from Minnesota who should be in their late 60’s by now?

Please help me.

Please help me.

What the fuck is this bullshit?

I posted this photo years ago, and christened the band Phil & the Phoxes; to be honest, I didn’t even notice Pigpen standing behind the amplifiers. Found it on Google, slapped it on the blog, made my wee funny, and moved on with what I’m euphemistically referring to as “my life.” But here it is again, risen from the collective subconsciousness of Deadheads everywhere, and contemplated by the great Jesse Jarnow.

This is what he has to say about it:

Except, that is, for one intriguing photograph by Tom Berthiaume. Dead bassist Phil Lesh sings at center stage, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan leans on the band’s amps at the rear. Seated at the drum sets, however, aren’t Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, but two fashionably dressed young women, more mod than hippie. A call to Berthiaume several years ago yielded nothing more than the memory that the photo was almost definitely taken between the evening’s early and late shows, and not during the performance itself. Beyond that he remembered nothing.

So: who are they and why were they allowed to sit and Billy and Mickey’s kits? (One would imagine that this action generally led to a sudden and vicious thrashing.) They don’t look like they came with the band–they’re clean–and they also don’t look like they came for the band; that is most certainly not what groupies looked like in 1970. Neither of those haircuts should be in the same room with the Grateful Dead, let along onstage playing the drums behind Phil.

(Let’s just note what Phil looks like, accept it, and push forward. Also: I think the ol’ Pig is birddogging Tig Notaro on the right.)

So here’s the question, Enthusiasts: what the fuck? Let’s solve this. Then, world peace.

A Shared Language

“How’s the little one?”

“Baby Levon?”


“The best. I’m teaching him to read.”


“Yes, Bob.”

“Hey, ya never know. Me and my wife–”

“Natasha Monster.”

“–Natasha Monster were going to raise Chloe in German.”


Schei├čt und kichert.”

“So why didn’t you?”

“That’s the only German I know.”

“Makes sense. We’re gonna stick to English for now.”

“Now is really the time to teach him other languages, though.”

“That’s true.”

“Get the busboys on that.”

“A bit of a racist assumption, Weir.”

“I’ve met them.”


“That polite fellow that runs the Vault speaks Canadian.”

“Not a language.”

“Now who’s the racist?”

“Weir, the kid’s American. He’s gonna speak English and that’s it.”

“Was I supposed to bring the drummer?”

“I wasn’t going to mention it, but: yeah.”


Together Again Once More Again

“I heard they built a casino on Saturn.”

“No, Bob.”

“Oh, yeah. Big place. Steve Wynn, I think.”

“Cassini, Bob. It’s a spacecraft that’s crashing into Saturn?”

“How do you crash into Saturn? It’s big enough to avoid.”

“It’s crashing intentionally.”

“Insurance scam?”

“How are the drummers?”

“No idea. Haven’t heard from Billy since Mexico. I think Mickey’s taken up painting.”

“Like Dubya.”

“More nudes, but yeah.”

“Mickey paints nudes?”

“No, he paints nude.”


“You, uh, should call before you stop by. Learned that lesson the ugly way. How’re the busboys?”


“That word always confuses me. It sounds like ‘rest,’ but it means the opposite.”

“Like enervating.”


“Right, yeah. If you’re full of phlegm, you should be a madman, not calm.”

“What were we talking about?”


“No, Bob. Hey, man: remember to say hi to Brent before you leave.”

“He still in the turtle suit?”

“He lives in that thing.”

“He’s expressing himself. And, you know, you’re saving money on hiring a kid to wear the suit.”

“You always see the silver lining.”

“Glass is half-full.”



“Did we forget to call a drummer?”



Older posts
%d bloggers like this: